“Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to dispute with one stronger than he. The more words, the more vanity, and what is the advantage to man? For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 6:10-12 ESV)
Have you ever been in a corn maze? Are you familiar with the concept? For down home Hoosier types, this is considered great fun. Each fall across the state, in large unharvested cornfields, you can find corn mazes.
A corn maze is a series of paths cut in a cornfield. There are lots of paths. Some go this way; some go that way. Every path ends up in a dead end except one. The goal is to get through the maze, but there’s only one way through it. Nobody just walks through it. You are constantly hitting a corn wall, turning around, retracing and trying a different path. They are sneaky in the way they lay them out. You think you are on the right path. It feels like you are making progress. You’re almost there, only to have your high hopes dashed. It can be very confusing. Someone designed the maze and made it in a way that takes you down wrong paths so that you can find the right one.
I’ve done these and they can be incredibly frustrating. I tried this way. I tried that way. You begin to wonder if maybe the devilish farmer made a path with no way out. It would be terrible to be running in a maze with no way out. How disheartening!
Why did God make us with these deep, spiritual longings? Why do we search for purpose and answers to basic questions like, who are we? How did we get here? Why am I here? What is my future and destiny?
Ecclesiastes 6 is depressing like a corn maze with no apparent way out. We take paths we think will take us to happiness and satisfaction but we keep running into dead ends. Each dead end creates more disillusionment. Wealth? Still not happy. Success? Something still missing. We reach. We search. We grind away at work and family and relationships but what we really want always seems just out of reach. Why?
Because God is the master corn maze designer. He purposely dead ends our pursuits for meaning and happiness without Him. This isn’t mean. This is love. He uses life’s despair and disillusionment to lead us to the one path, the one person, who will provide satisfaction in this life and hope for the next.
“But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” (Galatians 3:22)
The search for meaning feels like a prison, like a maze with no way out. Sometimes people in a maze just sit down and quit. It feels to us like hopelessness, emptiness, gnawing boredom. Like nothing matters. Nothings changes. Who cares? As Martin Luther once said, “The wicked begin their hell in this life.” An emotional and spiritual hell. A maze with no way out.
But this verse in Galatians says that God made every path lead to despair but one. There is one path that leads to what we really long for. So that the promise of salvation and eternal life could be given to those who believe. Or to say it another way, God uses disillusionment to lead us to the promise of God to save all who believe in Jesus. Are you feeling disillusioned today? Good! This is God’s grace to you!
Jesus said this about himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) God made a way for sinners to get out of the prison of sin and guilt and eternal punishment. This is why Jesus died on the cross as a substitute for us. For our sin. The promise of salvation comes to us by faith for all who believe, who trust in Jesus.
This is hope for the disillusioned life. We are disillusioned by life without God and without the hope found in Christ. You can enter into this promise and this hope by putting personal faith and trust in Jesus and beginning a new life, a new path, with a new hope that extends beyond this life into eternity.
- “In your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
- “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
- “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31)
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
©2016 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
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